Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Gremlins 2: The New Batch Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to the classic Gremlins film. This one dials the craziness up as the film breaks the third wall and the monsters gain various super forms. It’s an improvement over the first in some ways but I wouldn’t say it’s enough to throw it onto solid territory. At this rate a third film could be the one to do it though.

The film starts off with corporate heading over to the store where the gremlin is being held and they attempt to buy out the building. The owner refuses since he has decided to never sell the place. Corporate is never denied though and the old man soon dies of old age. Interestingly the film plays it straight as if there was no foul play involved. The owner was simply too old. One thing leads to another and after corporate captures Gizmo he ends up being exposed to water and his various clones quickly take over the building. Billy figures that since he has prior experience with the Gremlins that he is the best person to stop them. Can he pull this off or is the city already doomed?

It always makes for a good plot when corporate is involved because I like to see how they handle an alien invasion. Gizmo isn’t technically an alien but with how the plot plays out he may as well be. The company actually did pretty good here. They definitely lost the first round but once the big boss Daniel showed up they were in good hands. From the first scene Daniel was in I had a good feeling about his character. He seems like the kind of guy who made it to the top through his own abilities and he is quick on the uptake. Even with no heads up or survival training he was able to take down one of the powered up Gremlins. That’s not bad. Then he helped execute the final plan really well and even had a Batman type secret exit. He was constantly working hard and showing why he deserved to get the position.

Billy’s direct supervisor’s supervisor definitely doesn’t fare even half as well. Not only is he shaken up and overwhelmed right from the start but then one of the gremlins even forces him into a fake wedding. Clearly the creatures aren’t respecting him as an actual threat which is pretty sad for the guy. He had some potential since he looked good during the opening scene where he negotiates with the shop owner. From there his character fell down though. Then you’ve got Billy’s supervisor whose plot is pretty unnecessary. She decides to try and seduce Billy since he is on the track to success and he puts up very half hearted resistance the whole time. This plot is dropped pretty quickly later on and at the end of the day it just didn’t matter much.

As for the main heroine, Kate isn’t bad, but definitely not as pro-active as some other characters. She doesn’t handle the gremlin in her house too well and doesn’t really get to lay on the damage to the remaining ones. At least she is upset about Billy being so weak willed though. Then you’ve got Billy who makes the wrong choices consistently. You have to give him points for being predictable, but why would you leave Gizmo alone at any point? He should have taken him home straight away. It’s good that he rescued him, but that’s not going to help if you leave him in the villain base.

Gizmo gets a big role of course. He is still the mascot of the series after all. Unfortunately he is really just used as a punching bag by the other characters the whole time. He’s the original so you would expect him to be able to fight but that isn’t the case. The others get cool super forms and such while Gizmo is stuck trying to load a flame arrow to help fight them off. He gets a good moment at the end, but the rest of the film is him losing every round so it only helps a little bit.

The other Gremlins are interesting although their super forms range from actually being fairly threatening to just being grotesque. The fruit ones can be a little hard to look at, but the bat one was pretty cool. Their super forms don’t seem to actually amp up their physical abilities all that much so they’re really here for style points. One of the gremlins ends up getting super intelligence so he tries to give us some reasons for why the Gremlins are attacking. Ultimately it really just boils down to the fact that they want a society and have to eliminate the humans.

On one hand I like that Gremlins 2 does amp up the crazy factor. Having the Looney Tunes actually get a scene was pretty interesting. It’s always nice to see Daffy steal the show. Then there is one point where we break the third wall and a wrestler shows up to tell the theater to continue playing the film. That was definitely out of left field and it’s a bold moment that really pays off. Of course with a lot of extra humor like this there will be moments that don’t work like the wedding sub plot. You have to take the good with the bad in a title like this.

While the film doesn’t take itself seriously all that much, there are a few intense scenes here like one of the Gremlins being shoved inside a blender which leads to a violent death. It’s all rainbow colored so I suppose that’s why it wouldn’t ultimately rate too high as a violent moment, but it can definitely be a bit disturbing. The pacing isn’t bad for the most part. It may drag on just a bit towards the second half, but all in all you should be in for a decent ride.

Overall, Gremlins 2 can be fun. It’s hard to put my finger on it though, but the film doesn’t have any real replay value. It’s not the kind of movie I would ever need to watch a second time. I think it just isn’t a strong enough movie for a second viewing, but on your initial watch it will be entertaining enough for you to make it to the end. Ideally if we get a third film we’ll get to see corporate return. Without them this movie really would have worked so you gotta have them return. Even seeing the employees fighting the Gremlins in the background was pretty fun. I always like a good background gag, they’re subtle but work pretty well.

Overall 5/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Gremlins Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film which has become really well known. You’ll likely have heard of the Gremlins even if you haven’t seen the film before. Going into it you may think that this is going to be a pretty intense horror film, but it actually blends together some comedic aspects along with being part parody. It manages the blend fairly well which automatically makes it better than most horror films. It’s so convincing at being a horror movie that it’ll probably take you a while to really establish any kind of opinion on it, but by the end you’ll have to give it some thought. I doubt we’ll see another film blend two genres like this so smoothly again in the near future.

The film starts off with the best character, Randall trying to sell his crazy inventions to more people. The main problem he is having is that aside from none of his inventions working, the buyers just don’t seem interested. That’s when he finds a rare animal that is being kept in a shady shop in China Town. He buys it and brings the creature home. There are only 3 rules that must be kept with the creature. He must not make contact with water, he must not be fed after midnight, and he must not be exposed to bright lights or the sun as that can cause the monster to die. He gives Billy this bundle of responsibility, but can the kid handle it?

As I mentioned, Randall steals the show. He’s a perfect example of a comic relief character who is actually handled well. His humor scenes work quite well and he’s just a nice guy. Randall means well even if his actions don’t always lead to the positive outcomes that he was hoping for. Stuff happens right? He’s part of why the film was able to establish such a good balance. He keeps it from getting too dark or serious. The only downside is that in comparison the main characters just aren’t very good. Before that, we have the other parent who also looks great. Lynn ends up having to defend her house from multiple gremlins and she does a good job of it. She blends one, smashes another, and is basically taking names the whole time. This is where the parody elements really help the film. Typically you’d expect her to just be screaming and running away rather than fighting back. Here, Lynn isn’t playing around. She’s defending her house and doing a great job of it. She’s another scene stealer.

Then we have the actual lead, Billy. Billy can barely hold his own against one Gremlin so right away you know that he is pretty much doomed. He doesn’t do a good job of looking after Gizmo either. He constantly lets things happen to him. How can you mess up not letting Gizmo getting wet or keeping him near bright lights? Billy makes every mistake possible. Part of it can be blamed on his friend Pete who is super annoying the whole time, but you gotta be more responsible when you own mythical creatures like this.

Meanwhile you have Gizmo who is the most heroic of the gremlins, but naturally he is the weakest as well. It’s always an unfortunate trope as you’d like the heroic one to be able to defend himself right? Well, that just wasn’t the case this time. He’s not a bad character but I do admit that he would have been better if he had gotten to fight a little more. Mostly all he does he sit around and watch everyone else. Then we have the heroine, Kate who may not be quite as skilled as Lynn or Randall, but she does all right for herself. Choosing to serve the gremlins was definitely a smart move to extend her life. I didn’t get her whole blowing up at Christmas scene. I’m assuming it has to do with some kind of sob story so I’m glad the film didn’t really elaborate on it.

On that note, the romance with her and Billy was very weak. It doesn’t really have anything to do with anything and just felt rather tacked on. I think the film didn’t need it. What also hurts the film a bit is how the Gremlins go after the dog and Billy doesn’t do anything about it. It’s obvious who the culprit is as the film goes on but he doesn’t put the pieces together. I mean, the old lady is a slight suspect, but how could she pull this off without making a sound? Honestly, it should have been impossible for the Gremlins as well. It’s a pretty bad scene all in all, but at least the dog lived and made it through this film which helps a lot. That saved the film from getting a horrible score.

While the writing is fairly reasonable for the most part, I do think the film dropped the ball with the conspiracy guy. These kind of films love to have one guy who believes in aliens or monsters and is constantly acting crazy. You’d expect him to be prepared when the enemies finally show up since he called it from the start right? Instead he ends up panicking and dies in one of the worst ways possible. It’s a “funny” scene that ends up falling flat. They didn’t need to do him like that. The character could have contributed a lot. The soundtrack is definitely really good though. We get a lot of classic Christmas songs which is always what you want to listen to here. The classics have aged well and giving this film a Christmas backdrop is nice. It helps to make the film more memorable and gives it a nice backdrop.

Overall, Gremlins is an interesting film. It’s certainly not the kind of film you might expect going in. It’s just a very unique blend of horror and comedy. It works reasonably well but there are still enough weak points to probably keep you from coming back to this one. If you really want to see what this blend is like then it’s not a bad film to check out. Otherwise I’d suggest you watch something with a bit more flair and hype like RWBY. That one can pull off any genre and perfect it.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark Review

Disclaimer: This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the unedited version would likely be even more negative.

It’s time for another horror film. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fare any better than the average one. The film may not be afraid of the dark, but it’s also not afraid to step into every possible cliche. There is nothing original or even semi interesting to be found here. Even the villains are very weak and unimpressive. Add in the fact that all of the characters are annoying and you’ve got the makings of a very sad film on your hands. It’s not the worst horror film by any means, but even for a horror title…it’s one of the weaker ones. The film is right about one thing though…the fear is not made up. You definitely feel fear for your attention span while trying to watch this film!

Alex and Kim have finally nabbed a large house. As interior decorators, they know how to make the place look attractive and the money can start rolling in. Unfortunately, Sally is staying over for the weekend and won’t be leaving anytime soon. It seems to be related to custody issues and now Alex has his daughter back. She doesn’t like Kim at all though and decides from the get go that they won’t be friends. Tensions continue to rise when Gremlins start to frame Sally for many tricky situations like all of Kim’s clothes being torn up. Can Sally hope to stop these little monsters or will they continue to pull pranks and eat people?

The Gremlins are tiny though and they are very weak when it comes to durability. Stepping on one of them is enough to end the fight as shown a few times. A kid can beat them so that kind of destroys the scare factor. They simply aren’t interesting villains either way though. Even if they were physically tougher, the design doomed them to 2nd string status for good. I can’t say that I’m surprised though.

Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark started off on a terrible note right from the get go as we see an old man destroy a maid and then give her to the Gremlins. They decide that the sacrifice isn’t enough though and destroy the old man next. The segment is so terrible and needlessly violent that a 2 was as high as the film was going to get by that point. No need to make it so dark as to have the Gremlins eat teeth, they could have settled for soul snatching or something like that.

The action scenes are all pretty terrible in the film as well. Since the Gremlins can’t fight, they have to grab scissors and other blunt objects to attack with while Sally uses her Camera to retaliate. Watching Alex also lose to the Gremlins was pretty sad. For a horror film, there surprisingly aren’t many “scare” scenes, but I suppose they were hoping that seeing the Gremlins was enough to achieve that effect. They certainly did do a number on the local Gardner who tried to hide the secret of the Gremlins. Why was he hiding them? I dunno, seems like a terrible move on his part since he could have helped to avoid the whole situation.

The ending is also pretty terrible. Kim decides to help Sally out and fights the Gremlins while Alex gets knocked out again. They eventually overpower her and throw her to the underworld where they are. Alex watches and then decides that he won’t risk his life to save hers. I mean, they were a couple and you’d think that risking his life for her is something that he’d do without a second thought, but clearly Alex wasn’t quite that brave. He was already a very unlikable character, but that didn’t help matters. As for the film ending on that really tragic and sad note…it didn’t help the film’s case either.

We’re already discussed how Alex was unlikable. He kept putting the job ahead of his kid. Sally was also on the annoying side since she had a sour attitude from the start and it is part of the reason why Alex doesn’t believe her when she denies being responsible for the mayhem that the Gremlins start. Kim’s really the only reasonable character here as she tries to get along with Sally, but she also didn’t help the situation too much at times. Considering that the place isn’t soundproof and Sally is right next door, she should have probably held off on the “fun times” with Alex for a little while. That’s not going to win her any brownie points with Sally.

Even once Kim realized that the Gremlins were real, she sure took her time doing anything about it. At least she finally began to pack, but still left Sally by herself for a while. Not a good move since Sally was the main target the entire time. No reason why Sally can’t just follow Kim around right? They still may not have been able to defeat the Gremlins since they kept making rookie mistakes, but their odds would be better. Just don’t go to their home base where they have extra power….it wasn’t a wise move. Of course, they were dragged there, but it just goes to show that numbers are important. If only they could have convinced the guests to help out, but the Gremlins know better than to show themselves while the guests are there right?

Well…they actually didn’t care. They attacked even with the guests present, but somehow they weren’t spotted. These Gremlins certainly weren’t the smartest villains out there, but I guess they got the job done anyhow. There isn’t really a soundtrack here although the opening credits theme wasn’t bad. Having one decent tune is actually more than I would expect from this title. Nothing else stands out about the film when it comes to the technical aspects.

Overall, Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark is your average horror film. It grabs all of the cliches like evil old men, random bath scenes, fanservice, terrible jump scares, excessive violence, sad ending, and throws them all together without any real subtlety. The characters make all of the wrong decisions like you would expect and the cast is fairly unlikable. Kim was the only decent character and she’s still not great by any means. In case it wasn’t too clear from the review, I heavily recommend avoiding this film. There’s nothing to be gained from watching this title and even among horror films, it is simply terrible. If it ever gets a sequel or a remake, my advice would be to make it 20 minutes long and see if the writers can use that as an excuse to cut out all of the sad cliches. The shorter the better is always my recommendation for horror movies.

Overall 1/10